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Marcos Sees Nation Rebounding, Chides Opponents’ Pessimism

January 15, 1985

MANILA, Philippines (AP) _ President Ferdinand E. Marcos, in a speech distributed to members at Monday’s reopening of the National Assembly, said the Communist rebel threat has reached a ″new dimension″ but chided critics who see an inevitable Communist takeover.

″The growing visibility of insurgents and the frequency of encounters plainly suggests a new dimension to the problem we must face,″ Marcos said, adding that it was comparable to the threats of the 1950s and the 1970s.

In the 1950s, Communist rebels nearly took over the government. In 1972, Marcos declared martial law, citing guerrilla terrorist activities as the main reason. In 1984, three years after martial law was lifted, about 2,000 soldiers and civilians were killed in scattered rebel activity, the Defense Ministry reported.

The presidential palace gave no reason for Marcos’ failure to appear before the assembly. He has made no appearances outside the palace in several weeks, although he has had several visitors. Palace officials have denied rumors that Marcos has been limiting his activities due to a serious illness.

Marcos said in the speech that the nation has rebounded from the ″agony and shame″ of the 1983 assassination of opposition leader Benigno Aquino, from financial crisis and from ″the wave of political anxiety that for a time gripped the country.″

″We have emerged from these traumas with our democratic institutions strengthened, our economy on the road to recovery, our faith in the rule of law renewed, our electoral process confirmed in the eyes of the world, and our sense of national pride restored,″ he said.

″Our friends in many parts of the world are greatly heartened by this, but there are those who perhaps are unable to forgive us for not living up to their grim predictions.″

Marcos cited statistics showing increased export receipts, less reliance on imports, an improved balance of payments and what he said is a stabilized peso-dollar exchange rate.

Marcos accused his political opponents of ″quixotic flirtation″ with the rebel movement.

″I cannot eliminate the creeping suspicion that behind this ambivalence of the opposition toward the radicals is not so much their political ambitions, but their fear or conviction that the Communists will one day hold the reins of political power in our country.″

Marcos said the conclusion of the fact-finding inquiry into Aquino’s Aug. 21, 1983 assassination ″became an opportunity to demonstrate the primacy of our judicial process.″

A panel of government prosecutors has yet to decide whether to charge armed forces Chief of Staff Gen. Fabian C. Ver and 25 others accused by the inquiry of involvement in a military conspiracy to kill Aquino.

The editor of an opposition newspaper closed down by Marcos two years ago for allegedly conspiring to overthrow his government said Monday the paper would resume publication as an afternoon daily.

Jose Burgos Jr. said in another opposition newspaper he publishes that he was restarting publication of We Forum on Jan. 21 in response to the ″clamor of our orphaned readers.″

Shortly before the paper was raided and padlocked, We Forum ran a series of articles questioning the authenticity of medals Marcos won for bravery as a soldier in World War II. The Supreme Court last month ruled the raid illegal and ordered the military to return confiscated properties, including printing presses, air-conditioning units, typewriters and vehicles.

Burgos said the property had not yet been returned.

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